National Register of Historic Places in Alameda County
Berkeley City Hall was designed by the architectural firm of Bakewell & Brown to replace the original Town Hall (Samuel and J. C. Newsom, 1884) which had burned to the ground in 1904. The Beaux Arts design was derived from the Town Hall in Tours, France, designed in 1901 by Arthur Brown's teacher at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
The elegant design proclaimed Berkeley's new image as the Athens of the West inspired by the Hearst Plan for the University of California campus and the magnificent new buildings that were rising there.
City Hall is the keystone of the Berkeley Civic Center, a successful realization of the City Beautiful Movement which emphasized broad vistas with important public buildings grouped around a central open space.
Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in August 1981.